“No Senior Memories”- Spring Sports Cancelled In State Schools
MADISON- “So sad…no kids…no senior memories.”
The remarks of longtime head track coach Drew Bell of James Clemens High said it all as the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has cancelled the remainder of the 2020 season of spring sports in schools across Alabama. The decision came after Gov. Kay Ivey, in consultation with the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Public Health, announced all public K-12 schools would conclude its current school year via alternate delivery of instruction due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand the hardships and disappointments, but we are committed to putting the health, safety and overall well-being of our administration, coaches and student-athletes at the forefront during this challenging time, and our priorities must focus on returning to a normal school year in 2020-2021,” according to Steve Savarese, Executive Director AHSAA.
“The decision is heartbreaking for our team, but especially our seniors who won’t get a chance to finish their senior year,” said Jared Smith head baseball coach at Bob Jones.
The Patriots were predicted to be among the top teams in Class 7A after finishing as state runner-up a season ago, but had seven returning starters including five of whom were All-State selections. Smith, in his fifth season as head coach, said, “After getting beat in the state finals last season, we all wanted the chance at redemption to finish on top, but unfortunately this team won’t get that opportunity. Our kids are tough and resilient and are built to face tough situations. I believe all of them will be better men because of the unprecedented adversity that they are all having to face.”
For Bell, his outdoor track teams were rolling along on record pace as the girl’s team was undefeated in three big meets while the boy’s squad was runner-up in each of their three outings. The Jets posted the trophy winning efforts in the James Clemens, Bob Jones and Huntsville Invitationals. Overall, the Jets defeated 53 schools in those events.
“Yes, very sad for our athletes with no chances for team and individual championships at the end of the season,” added Bell. “It’s simply put as the season is done. I hurt. The kids hurt.”
There are six sports in the AHSAA that see action during the “Spring Season” of the AHSAA schedule- baseball, softball, soccer, golf, tennis and track and field. The official spring championship schedule included titles being up for grabs beginning with tennis April 20.
“The AHSAA maintains its position of suspending spring events while schools are closed,” said Salarese. “We are facing an unprecedented health crisis, but I am prayerful that the steps we are taking now within our schools and across our nation will enable all those affected to return to a sense of normalcy sooner than later.”
“I think the current issues will only make next season that much more meaningful to all of our guys returning and we will be ready to go to work as soon as we are allowed to,” said Smith of his Patriots.